Democrat Deborah Ross continued to out-raise Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr during the last quarter, though he had more money in the bank heading into October, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission.
Outside groups, meanwhile, have spent more than $15 million on behalf of Burr compared with around $11 million for Ross.
Burr raised $2.6 million during the three months ending Oct. 1. That compares to nearly $4.5 million raised by Ross during the period.
Burr had $7.2 million on hand at the end of September to Ross’s $1.1 million. Burr started the year with $5.3 million in his campaign coffers. Ross didn’t win her party’s nomination until March.
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The North Carolina race is one of the most closely watched in the country as Democrats try to retake the Senate. They need a net gain of four seats for control, or five if there’s a Republican vice president who would vote in the case of a tie.
Though Real Clear Politics puts Burr’s average polling lead at 2.8 percentage points, the Cook Political Report and other analysts call the race a toss-up.
The new finance reports marked the third consecutive time Ross had outpaced Burr in quarterly fundraising.
And Ross spokesman Helen Hare said the Democrat raised $2.3 million in the first 19 days of October, though reports from that period are not yet available. A Burr spokesman said the campaign is still compiling the figures.
The third quarter reports also show that Ross spent $7.3 million through September to Burr’s $5.4 million.
“Deborah Ross is burning money at an alarming rate with little to show for it,” said Burr spokesman Jesse Hunt. “Ross is completely reliant on liberal special interest groups to drag her flailing campaign across the finish line.”
Hare, the Ross spokeswoman, said, “It’s no surprise that Sen. Burr’s campaign is alarmed, given his record of putting himself and special interests first … Deborah’s strong message of change from politics as usual, and her momentum and resources headed into Election Day.”
Outside groups have spent $26.6 million on the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a third of the $77 million outside groups spent on the 2014 Senate race between Republican Thom Tillis and Democrat Kay Hagan.
This year’s largest expenditure has been from the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. It has spent $7.4 million on behalf of Burr.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent $6.3 million for Ross.
The National Rifle Association PAC has spent nearly $2.5 million for Burr, mostly in TV ads. An NRA nonprofit spinoff has sent $2 million.
Labor, environmental and women’s groups and even a super PAC representing Asian American and Pacific Islanders also have invested in the race.